Volkswagen Routan Minivan Not Dead Yet, But Future Looks Bleak
Saying that the Volkswagen Routan has not lived up to expectations would be a bit of an understatement. When the model debuted five years ago at the Chicago auto show, VW hoped to move 45,000 of the reworked Chrysler minivans per year. Um, not so much: The first eleven months of this year saw just 9923 of the vans find homes. The people movers are moving so slowly off dealer lots, in fact, that VW has halted production until its bloated inventory thins out.
Recent speculation has it that the Chrysler-produced minivan has been or is about to be terminated, based on Chrysler documents revealing that its Windsor, Ontario, facility—home to production for the Routan as well as the Chrysler Town & Country and the Dodge Caravan—produced no VWs in November. But further research reveals that Chrysler hasn’t produced a VW-badged vehicle since July, which is right around the time VW models change over to the new model year. And a quick look at Volkswagen’s consumer site reveals that its minivan is the only 2012 model year left in the U.S. lineup. (Get one while they’re hot!)
If demand for the Routan were to pick up, production would follow accordingly, at least through next year. That’s based on the production agreement between Volkswagen and Chrysler that is set to expire at the end of 2013, at which point the future of the Routan becomes considerably bleaker. Our best intelligence suggests that the Routan will come to an end at the same time as its welcome in Ontario.
- First Drive: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg / Touareg Hybrid / Touareg TDI
- Comparison Test: 2011 Chrysler Town & Country vs. Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest, Toyota Sienna
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Some time thereafter, we expect VW will introduce a replacement for its minivan, and that’s likely to come in the form of the three-row crossover that was confirmed by CEO Martin Winterkorn earlier this year. Known internally as B-SUV, it will be previewed by a concept set to debut next month at the 2013 Detroit auto show. The production version is expected to hit showroom floors in 2015.